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Picking a side hustle for your pandemic extra cash

Phynart Studio

In the Before Time, you had your pick of side gigs.

That was before the coronavirus pandemic changed just about everything, including (possibly) your salary.

If you're looking for extra cash either to supplement or replace lost income, you might want to consider side jobs that help you avoid contact with potential customers. In any event, many platforms are struggling to find customers.

Take popular rideshare services Lyft and Uber. Spending on Uber's rides dropped about 83% in March, The New York Times found. Probably not a great time to become a driver.

Don't worry. Plenty more online and socially distant opportunities exist, from delivery services to teaching kids English.

One of the following might be the right fit.

Know what you're getting into

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Run the name of a site you'd like to work for plus the word "reviews" into a search engine or visit SideHusl.com, which aims to make the risks and rewards of working with online platforms much more transparent.

"You should absolutely know how much you are going to earn in advance," said Kathy Kristof, who created the site to rate platforms and give pay estimates.

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Be aware of the risks and the costs. "Many of these platforms will mislead you about your potential earnings," she said.

Sidehustlenation.com has ideas and a wealth of info on starting your own business, and Sidehustleschool.com offers encouragement and information via podcasts.  

You'll be right there

RUNSTUDIO

Delivery is booming.

Instacart's order volume in April was more than 400% higher than it was a year ago. The company is expanding its service through a partnership with Costco to deliver prescription drugs in addition to groceries and household goods.

The other big four in the delivery space are Postmates, DoorDash, Uber Eats and Grubhub. According to Nick Loper, the creator of Sidehustlenation, users report earning $10,000 in a year delivering groceries and takeout meals with the JoyRun app.

You can deliver much more than food, Loper says. If you want to pick up and deliver laundry and dry cleaning in your neighborhood, try Rinse. Get paid to deliver alcohol through Saucey. People who sign up with Amazon Flex earn $18 to $25, according to the site.

A job far, far away 

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Remote opportunities are legion, Kristof says. "Teaching and tutoring are great ones, and you can teach anything from music and dance to language," she said. "Primarily teaching English as a foreign language would be to Chinese kids, where your main requirement on some sites is that you be a native English speaker."

Most of the dozens of online tutoring platforms pay around $15 per hour or more. And the English tutoring platforms are all conducted on Beijing time, Kristof said, so you'll likely be working when your own kids are asleep.

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You can list services for practically anything on Fiverr, and it's not just editorial tasks. "Cast a hex on your ex [is an offering]," Kristof said. "Someone else said they'll give good advice about relationships."

Her main advice: Structure your offer so you know exactly what you're earning.

Putting it all together

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IKEA stores are closed, but people can still order furniture, which must be assembled. If you can wield an Allen wrench and decipher the Swedish retailer's wordless instructions, you can come to someone's rescue via TaskRabbit. Recent projects in New York included moving boxes, planting flowers and cleaning a bathroom and kitchen.

Since you'll be in someone else's apartment, wear a mask and gloves, and maintain the recommended six-foot distance from your client.

Blog about it 

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Forget about becoming an overnight success with a blog.

"My guess is that it takes more than two years for most people to make more than pocket change," said Kristof. And don't forget about the tremendous amount of upfront work to build it.

The right topic might help drive traffic. Gardening, hydroponics, microgreens and vertical gardens are hot now, Loper says.

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